The yield on Italy’s 10-year bond is up by about 100 basis points from its 2018 low. Meanwhile, its government continues to borrow money and roll over its existing debt. But now it has to do so at ever-higher interest rates, which means it has to pay more interest, which means its deficits are rising, forcing it to borrow even more money, and so on until this “interest rate death spiral” becomes fatal.

It would already be fatal, if not for the European Central Bank’s willingness to buy Italy’s bonds at extremely favorable prices (i.e., very low interest rates). But now the ECB is promising to stop doing that, which leaves Italy in the early stages of a very negative feedback loop.